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Summary: Jesus calls his followers to a life of prayer and fasting

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Love Expressed in Fasting

Matthew 6:16-18

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

1) Introduction:

i) My Stay in the hospital

(a) Fasting for testing

(b) Starving for over 24 hours

ii) Video Clip (FASTING)

Why would Jesus condemn fasters?

iii) History of Fasting

(1) Fasting on the Day of Atonement

(a) The fast lasts from dawn—when it is light enough to distinguish a white thread from a black thread—until sunset. Bathing, drinking, smoking, smelling perfumes, eating, every unnecessary indulgence is forbidden. Nurses and pregnant women are exempt. Soldiers and those on a journey are excused, but must at some other time fast for an equivalent number of days. If for health’s sake a man must have food, he must make good his breach of the law of fasting by giving alms to the poor.

(b) The Jewish days of fasting were Monday and Thursday.

(c) Sign of Repentance

(i) Ezekiel 18:30

30 “Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel?

(d) Sit in ashes

(i) Job 42:6

Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

(e) Tear their clothes

(i) Job 1:20

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”

(f) Let their hair go messy

(g) Faster Stop bathing

(h) Fasters went barefoot

(i) Would not eat or drink

(j) Fasting was a deliberate attempt to draw the attention of God to the person who fasted.

(k) Fasting was a deliberate attempt to prove that repentance was real.

2) The Counterfeit Fast

i) Looking Somber.

ii) Disfiguring their faces.

iii) Sprinkle ashes on the head

iv) Not bath for days

3) The Real Deal

a) Oil on your hair.

b) The first oil treatment for hair

i) Perfumed oil on the hair

ii) Preparation for a party

(1) Psalm 23:5

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil;

iii) At Fancy Dinners guest were anointed with oil

iv) Luke 5:45-47

45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

c) Bath

i)

4) We Forfeit Feasting for Fellowship with God.

a) Fasting provides Christ followers opportunities to truly seek God.

Psalm 42:1-2 (The Message)

“A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek; I want to drink God, deep draughts of God. I’m thirsty for God alive. I wonder, “Will I ever make it – arrive and drink in God’s presence?”

b) This is not a call to retreat from life, but a call to manifest the joy of fellowship with God as a witness to the world. As Tasker says, “The disciples must not hide themselves, but live and work in places where their influence can be felt.”.

c) 1 John 1:6-7

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all a sin.

5) We forfeit satisfaction for self-denial.

a) Matthew 16:24-25

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life a will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

b) The Powerful Preacher/ Teachers Phillip Brooks said, “Men are captivated with the idea of self-denial, and then they invent ingenious ways to make self-denial comfortable and easy.”

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